Last weekend I posted the sequences from our Spring Asana Intensive but I am just now sitting down to write about it a bit. As usual, I had a great time teaching at home and feel very grateful for the depth of work we explored together. To me, there is nothing like putting 20 people in a warm room together to work on asana for 4 or 5 days to initiate a transformational process.
In our opening circle I spoke about how The San Marcos School of Yoga is not a fancy place nor will it become a fancy place. The floors are painted plywood, the doors don't all close well the props don't match, the landscape needs some TLC and the 27 trains that pass through town are anything but quiet in the middle of pranayama in the morning.
And yet, these idiosyncrasies are some of the things I like most about teaching there- the simplicity and the no-frills-just-practice atmosphere. Something about the back-to-basics quality of energy at San Marcos School of Yoga brings me back to myself and back to the simple place inside where yoga has always pointed me. And even the noise from the trains reminds me yoga happens in the midst of life, not when everything is fixed, quiet, fancy and/or serene. Yoga practice happens in the midst of Life As It Is which is full of contradictions, paradoxes, hopes, dreams, challenges, messes, defeats and victories.
Along those lines, we worked with straightforward and somewhat simple sequences with a lot of repetition. (So we are clear- I mean simple in terms of nothing fancy, no major choreography, nothing highly creative or unusual; not simple in terms of easy-to-perform or easy-to-do.) And the work was honest, true, deep and profound.
I suppose the other teaching that really stands out for me from the weekend has to do with shakti and how we can open a door through intention, ritual, presence and practice to a deeper experience of an energetic current that is there for us all the time. I got to talking about the different people I have known over the years who are or were quite excellent at opening these doors. Upon reflection, its pretty obvious to me that in my earlier years of practice, I often got fixated on the person who was opening the door, or the circumstance that was opening the door so much so that many times I forgot to walk through the door to get to the energetic field that was on the other side. (Of course that is another topic for another day...)
As I see it, part of how these intensives, trainings, workshops, classes, satsangs, etc. "work"- both in the room and also how they work to help us after we go home- is that if we do our job well as a group, we can unlock a certain kind of energy that then becomes made available for fueling our ongoing Work. Call it inspiration, call it shakti, call it love, call it clarity, call it God, call it community, call it mysterious or call it what you will- my experience is that It Happens. And part of the skill I am cultivating in my practice is the skill to be able to open the door, recognize when the energy is flowing, tap into its power, serve its flow and then utilize the available, liberated energy for my ongoing sadhana and healing.
I spent some time talking about that and sharing some stories from my journey to illustrate the point but it served as a good working image and metaphor for the time in the room together. Lee used to say that for the first few years a student worked with a teacher they got a huge energetic loan from the teacher. Meaning for a period of time he would (or the teacher would or the group would) open the door for the new student. Eventually, he said, he expected the student to be able to open the door for themselves and then pay back the loan, help open the door for others and eventually, in some way through authentic offerings and creative projects, teach other people to open the door for themselves.
Anyway, this is the thing I love about practice, about practicing with others and about being in intentional community- we get a chance to open the door of shakti together and become responsible for how we will access it and utilize it in our lives both in the room and out. More could be said about the weekend but that is enough for now.
In other news my Online Yoga Class site is now up and running and I am super excited about it. Speaking of nothing fancy, this site will feature no-frills yoga classes and tools for practice that emphasize clear instructions, intelligent sequencing toward peak poses. You can expect classes that are about how to improve different postures as opposed to classes that are "yoga to wake up", "yoga to go to sleep", "yoga for empowerment" , "yoga for forgiveness", and so on. I am very excited about it and am working right now on a Beginning Series that will be an introductory course for people brand-new to yoga.
In terms of programing I want to do 2 things with this site:
1.) help people learn about yoga in a safe, affordable and precise manner so that their personal understanding and practice improves and
2.) provide yoga teachers with an endless resource of instruction and creative teaching methods to help them help other people with greater clarity and efficacy. (Many teachers like the Level 1/2 classes for this reason.)
You can look forward to weekly updates of classes, special workshops, and web-based trainings that utilize the classes on the site as teaching tools. Meditation, mantra and pranayama practices and instruction to come as well.
Please help me spread the word!
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"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart."